A few years ago, the Lego company decided to think outside the box and came up with Lego board games, and so with my son being an avid Lego fan, it was inevitable that they would find their way into our house one day! We own both Minotaurus and Ramses Pyramid, but Minotaurus is by far the favourite and most played with in this house, hence the subject of this review.
Minotaurus comes in a sturdy cardboard box which is strengthened on each side and edge which I think is great as it stays looking neat and tidy on the shelf. Inside the box you get Lego pieces, small Lego men, a playing board on which to build your maze and a dice which you have to build yourself. When I first opened it, I quickly realised that you have to make the game in order to play it and not being such a massive Lego fan, this put me off slightly but my boys took to the task with relish.
The aim of the game is to simply get each of your men into the centre of the maze without being captured by the Minotaur but in reality that is easier said than done! The game comes with a set of instructions that we followed when we first played it, just to get the hang of it, but it quickly becomes clear that you can play this game however you like. The game comes with a template which we used initially - this tells you exactly where to build the walls of the maze and where to put the men. Within the walls there are grey Lego 2 bits, these are blockers and can be moved during the game.
The three men supplied should be each put in their respective coloured corners and then the dice is thrown to determine the move - at this point it might sound complicated but I shall do my best to explain. Although it is a normal six sided dice, the sides come off and so you can put on whatever you like - there are the numbers 3,4,5 and 6, but also a black side, green side and grey side. If you roll a number; you move your man on that number of spaces, if you get a grey, you can move one of the blocking pieces to wherever you like (ideally out of your route and onto someone else's to block them) and if you roll a green it counts as a three including a jump over the hedge (but not block!). If you roll a black you move the Minotaur eight spaces and if you land, or jump over, a man, they have to go back to the start. A little tool is supplied with the game to make it easier to change the faces of the dice.
Without hesitation I think that this is a fantastic game. The playing board and the pieces reek of the quality that would usually be associated with Lego and the easy to follow instructions are also exactly what I would expect from the company. The fact that they have created a game that can be changed and adapted constantly just like real life Lego pleases me greatly and it ensures that the game is always new and exciting to play and the only restriction to the game is your imagination.
Because there are only four sets of men, this means that it is for a maximum of four players which might not be so good if there are more of you, but if there are less, it can easily be played with two or three people. If the game is played with simple rules, in our experience, it lasts about fifteen minutes which I think is ideal because longer games tend to get a little dull in our house, but if you make the game more complicated for example by putting the home bases on the opposite side of the board to the "Temple "and making the maze really complicated with few exits, I think that you could be playing for hours. Before the first game I thought that it would take ages because there seem to be a lot of spaces that need to be travelled over in order to reach the destination, but it isn't that bad at all.
I am fairly tactical and I feel bad putting my children back to "home" so I generally pick on my husband by blocking him and putting him back to the start (don't worry, he does the same to me)but I should probably start being a bit meaner as they always win! Without doubt, this is a game of luck and tactics - where you put those blocking pieces can make or break the game but decisions have to be made quickly in order to keep the game moving and to maintain interest.
One small niggle that I have is that the horns on the Minotaur keep falling off - they are only pushed in to fit but every time he is touched they fall off, but not a big issue - we have just abandoned them completely back into the box. The men are very small - the size of a Lego one bit so if your dexterity isn't up to scratch, it is easy to knock them or not be able to put them into the correct position. The game is suitable for players ages 7+ which I think is spot on - younger players would possibly not get the full range of possibilities of the game so they could easily get bored.
This game is manufactured by Lego and it is available practically everywhere that you would expect to find it both on the internet and on the high street but prices range from £10 to £20 so it is worth shopping around. Overall highly recommended by me and it would especially make a cracking Christmas gift.
Also posted on Ciao under my username chilcott1